I know, it doesn't make sense for West Region action to be played at DC's Verizon Center. But with two of the group's top three seeds playing today, it makes sense to read on.
(3) Xavier vs. (14) Georgia
12:20 p.m. (ET)
The Bulldogs continue the excellent play they exhibited in the SEC Tournament and come out on fire. They hold a nine-point lead at the break, 41-32, forcing Musketeer fans to drown their sorrows in their beers during the intermission.
[articleBanner]who2beton[/articleBanner]However, the Musketeers come out like gangbusters in the second half and open it up with a 15-0 run to take a lead they never surrender. However, the spread is in doubt in the final seconds, but Georgia’s last ditch 3-point attempt clanks off the rim and Stanley Burrell hits the final two FT's of the game to allow Xavier to cover the spread.
Final Score: Xavier 77 – Georgia 67
Free Pick: Xavier -8½ (-110)
(11) Baylor vs. (6) Purdue
2:50 pm (ET)
The Bears and Boilermakers go back and forth throughout the first 17 minutes of the contest, but Purdue is able to pull away in the last couple minutes to grab a nine-point lead at the half, 33-24. Head Coach Scott Drew must have given one heck of a halftime speech because the Bears start to look like the team that earned a bid to The Dance right out of the gates in the second half. Senior guard Curtis Jerrells nailed back-to-back-to-back threes and the Bears took their first lead of the game at the 12-minute mark.
Matt Painter’s club won’t back down though as frosh phenom Robbie Hummel catches fire and scores the Boilers next 10 points to allow them to retake the lead. The score is all knotted up at 76 apiece with 17 seconds left on the clock and the Bears have possession of the ball. Everyone in the building knew it was Jerrells' time, and they were right. After letting close to 12 seconds elapse, Jerrells bolts to the rim but instead of taking the shot dishes it off to a wide open Tweety Carter who lets one go from beyond the arc. The ball touches nothing but nylon as the buzzer sounded, and the Bears are the proud owners of the first last-second win in the tourney.
Final Score: Baylor 79 – Purdue 76
Free Pick: Baylor +2½ (+100)
(15) Belmont vs. (2) Duke
7:10 pm (ET)
The Dukies waste no time in getting ahead of the spread in the evening contest against the Belmont Bruins. Not seven minutes elapse from the game clock, yet the Blue Devils already notch 37 points while holding Belmont to a miniscule 16.
DeMarcus Nelson and John Scheyer are unloading from beyond the arc, and Greg Paulus has already registered 10 dimes. Duke holds a 63-27 lead at the break, so Coach K decides to bring in his bench players to play a bulk of the second half. The Blue Devils go on to win by a 91-64 final count and cover the 20-point spread with ease.
Final Score: Duke 91 – Belmont 64
Free Pick: Duke -20 (-102)
(10) Arizona vs. (7) West Virginia
9:40 pm (ET)
The Mountaineers come out simply on fire from beyond the arc! Alex Ruoff and Darris Nichols hit seven of their first eight attempts to give the West Virginia a double-digit lead at the 10-minute mark. This leaves Arizona head coach Kevin O’Neill scrambling and searching for answers, but then his 'PTPers' step up to chew into the lead. WVU leads 52-44 at the break.
Arizona’s porous defense really turns it up in the second half and holds the Mountaineers scoreless for a four-minute mark to allow Jerryd Bayless and Company to tie it up. This takes the air out of Bob Huggins' club, and the Wildcats roll from there on out. The final score looks closer than the game really plays only because WVU nails a couple of desperation three’s and the Wildcats keep splitting at the line. Huge underdog win for the Wildcats who now get the pleasure of taking on Duke in Round 2.
Final Score: Arizona 84 – West Virginia 78
Free Pick: Arizona +2 (-108)
SBR Printable March Madness Brackets